I love the normal downtown nights
No Conference crowds or Christmas lights
More regular people willing to talk
More college students on casual walks
Less screeching King James callous men
Less mocking via theatric sin
Less garment-waving, stringed book throwing
More heart ache pleading word seed sowing
Having hearty, lengthy, truth-filled talks
Is what I yearn for, what I want
With hearts and Bibles together opened
To words sweeter than honey
I love praying for a conversation
And going home with exclamation
Seeing God in every situation
Advancing His good reputation
The words of Spurgeon:
“And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” –Mark 2:4
Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the palsied man before Him. If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that a tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some proprieties. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralyzed charge might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith among us! Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try to-day to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.
The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now? Have we seen His face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt His healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door, through window, or through roof, let us, breaking through all impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus. All means are good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord, make us quick to suggest methods of reaching Thy poor sin-sick ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.
Even if someone isn’t doing outreach the same way we are, may he bless each and every creative endeavor done in faith.
There seems to be three themes in discussions over evangelism:
1. Contextualization for the sake of Christ. This refers to our attempt as Christians to appropriately accommodate and adapt to culture so that we can best communicate the grace and truth of Christ, especially the gospel. It often involves a kind of humbling and discomfort on our part, of doing things in ways that aren’t familiar to us.
2. Conflict for the sake of Christ. This refers to our struggle with the world system around us which tries to silence or neutralize our message. It involves our countercultural endeavor to help people see the other-worldliness of the kingdom of God. I regard this as a subtheme of contextualization, because thoughtful consideration of a culture can be the very thing that helps us understand the need for a countercultural method.
3. Using spiritual gifts for the sake of Christ. This refers to our calling as Christians to use our talents and desires which God has given us. God wants each one of us to be good stewards of the special graces he has equipped us with.
We have to somehow integrate all three of these themes and not let any one take over in a way that justifies our own passions or selfish ambitions. It isn’t easy. Our flesh inclines us to contextualization as a worldly way to avoid suffering and feel good about relationships, to conflict as a worldly way of avoiding gentleness and patience, and to the abuse of our gifts as a way to justify bringing glory and attention to ourselves.
Even when we don’t agree with our Christian brothers, I think we need to cut them a lot of slack, particularly when it is evident their philosophy of ministry is centered around a thoughtful love that endures at least a meaningful degree of suffering and practices patience with very difficult people.
The longer I live, the dumber I feel on this whole matter. And I have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to people who think they are experts on being “missional”. It too often is just a highbrow way of letting sociology or individual preferences or cowardice or personal ambition dominate. To those who read part of that and think, “boy, that sounds like Aaron when he…”, I am sorry.
May God grant me a deeper love for everyone.
What do you think is most important to believe? Could you spend a few minutes trying to persuade me of it?
Would you consider yourself genuine or hypocritical according to your own standards?
Which religion do you think is most wrong and hypocritical?
What have you been thinking about lately?
What do you think is a bigger source of moral problems for humans: internal influences or external influences?